Vegetation and tree removal

Overview

This information applies to all tree removal or pruning that DOES NOT form part of a Development Application (DA).  You will need to lodge a DA for the removal of:

If your tree removal requires a development application, you will need to refer to the Development Application process


State Environment Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017 ( the Vegetation SEPP) regulates the clearing of native vegetation in non-rural areas of NSW. This policy works together with the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Local Land Services Act 2013.

Outlined below are the steps you need to take in order to check whether an approval, permit or licence is needed to remove trees or vegetation from your property:

Step 1

Check the zoning of your land in the Byron Shire Local Environmental Plan 2014 on the NSW Planning Portal spatial viewer or check the Native Vegetation Regulatory Map.

Vegetation removal on land zoned RU1, RU2 or DM is regulated by Local Land Services. If any of these zones apply to your land, please contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299, otherwise:

Continue to Step 2.

Step 2

Check if the proposed clearing exceeds the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme threshold. The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme threshold is comprised of two triggers:

Trigger 1 - Area clearing

The area clearing trigger sets out thresholds for clearing above which approval from the NVP is required. The clearing threshold varies depending on the minimum lot size associated with a property. Where there is no minimum lot size, the actual lot size of the property applies.

Minimum lot size associated with the property

Clearing threshold

Less than 1 hectare

0.25 hectares or more

1 hectare to less than 40 hectares

0.5 hectares or more

40 hectares to less than 1000 hectares

1 hectare or more

1000 hectares or more

2 hectares or more

 

Trigger 2 - Biodiversity Values Map trigger

The Biodiversity Values Map identifies land with high biodiversity value that is particularly sensitive to impacts from development and clearing. This land appears as a purple layer on the map. Any clearing of native vegetation or other biodiversity impacts on land identified on the map will trigger the requirement for approval from the NVP.

If the vegetation proposed to be cleared exceeds the area clearing trigger or is identified on the Biodiversity Values Map, approval from the Native Vegetation Panel (NVP) is required. You can also phone Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

Applications to the NVP must include a Biodiversity Development Assessment Report (BDAR) prepared by an accredited assessor. Access the public register of accredited assessors or call the  Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) for more information on 1300 361 967.

If thresholds are not exceeded, Continue to step three

Step 3

Check whether DCP 14 - Chapter B2 - Preservation of Trees and Other Vegetation applies to the vegetation proposed to be cleared.

If the DCP applies to the vegetation proposed to be cleared, apply to Council for a permit to remove the vegetation (refer to item 4 in the frequently asked questions and answers below for details of the application process).

If the DCP does not apply to the vegetation proposed to be cleared, a permit is not required from Council.

Continue to step 4.

Step 4

Check whether the vegetation is a threatened species, likely to be habitat for a threatened species or comprises part of a threatened ecological community. Contact an ecologist to check for you.

If the vegetation is a threatened species, habitat for a threatened species or comprises part of a threatened ecological community, you will need to apply for a Biodiversity Conservation Licence from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

If you don't believe either of the above items apply to you, please contact Council's Development Support Officers for advice by email or phone 02 6626 7025.

 Additional information

In addition to the above steps, the NSW Government Office of Local Government has developed a biodiversity assessment and approvals navigator designed to help you identify which approvals apply to your vegetation clearing.

Below you will also find some frequently asked questions and answers relating to vegetation/tree removal and the processes involved. 

Frequently asked questions

Do I need approval?

Approval from Council or the Native Vegetation Panel may be required.

The new State Environment Planning Policy (Vegetation in Non-Rural Areas) 2017( Vegetation SEPP) has been introduced to regulate the clearing of native vegetation not associated with a Development Application (DA) in non-rural areas of NSW. This policy works with the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and the Local Land Services Act 2016.

The Vegetation SEPP only applies to non-rural land.

Approval pathways for vegetation clearing activities now depend upon the purpose, location and extent of the vegetation clearing. You can use the tool below to figure out which approvals may apply to your clearing activity.

 

Is my property in an urban area?

The Vegetation SEPP applies to non-rural land zoned under the Byron Shire Local Environmental Plan 2014 as  RU5, R2, R3, R5, B1, B2, B4, B5, IN1, IN2, SP1, SP2, SP3, RE1, RE2.

Deleted E zones are not applicable just yet, these areas have been deferred. If your property is within these deferred areas you will need to lodge a development application for to remove trees or vegetation.

If your land is zoned RU1, RU2 or DM the Local Land Services Act 2016 applies - contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

You can check the zoning of your land to see whether your property is located in an urban area using the NSW Planning Portal spatial viewer

Who do I apply to for approval to remove vegetation or trees?

Native vegetation clearing not associated with a Development Application (DA) that exceeds the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme threshold (comprised of the area clearing trigger and the Biodiversity Values Map trigger) requires approval by the Native Vegetation Panel (NVP)For more information, contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

Area clearing trigger

The area clearing trigger sets out thresholds for clearing above which approval from the NVP is required. The clearing threshold varies depending on the minimum lot size associated with a property. Where there is no minimum lot size, the actual lot size of the property applies.

Minimum lot size associated with the property

Clearing threshold

Less than 1 hectare

0.25 hectares or more

1 hectare to less than 40 hectares

0.5 hectares or more

40 hectares to less than 1000 hectares

1 hectare or more

1000 hectares or more

2 hectares or more

 

Biodiversity Values Map trigger

The Biodiversity Values Map identifies land with high biodiversity value that is particularly sensitive to impacts from development and clearing. This land appears as a purple layer on the map. Any clearing of native vegetation or other biodiversity impacts on land identified on the map will trigger the requirement for approval from the NVP. For more information, contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

Clearing and pruning of any native vegetation that does not exceed the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme threshold may require a permit from Council (refer to next question).

 

I want to remove a tree(s)/vegetation that are below the clearing threshold & not on the biodiversity values map. How do I apply?

You should check  DCP 2014 Chapter B2 Preservation of Trees and Other Vegetation to see if it applies to your proposed tree removal. If the DCP applies, you will need to complete an application form for a permit to remove or prune trees. A permit will only be granted if the criteria in the DCP are met*.

Complete a Tree Removal Permit(PDF, 195KB) form.

Please ensure that you complete all sections of the application and include a detailed plan showing the property and location of the tree(s), access road, north point, distance from boundaries and buildings and a description of the trees or vegetation proposed for removal.

You are required to pay the application fee when lodging your application with Council. Fees for a tree removal application for the 2018/2019 financial year are as follows:

  • 1-5 trees = $87
  • 6+ trees = $265
  • Additional notification fees may apply if the application needs to be publicly exhibited.

*If the proposed vegetation clearing of vegetation is a type of vegetation removal to which Chapter B2 does not apply, then the vegetation removal does not require a Tree Removal Permit.


You can lodge your application the following ways:

  • in person at the customer service centre Station Street, Mullumbimby. You will also need to pay your application fees at the time of lodgement.
  • You can mail your application to Development Support Officer, Byron Shire Council, PO Box 219 MULLUMBIMBY  NSW  2482.

Upon receipt of your application and the applicable fee, your application will be assessed and a determination will be made as to whether approval will be granted for the removal of the vegetation/tree(s).

 

What if I have a dead, dying or dangerous tree/s?

The tree or vegetation should present an imminent threat to safety, not an alleged threat.

Although works to trees covered by DCP14 - Ch 2 - Preservation of Trees and Other Vegetation require Council's formal approval, there are certain operations which are exempt from obtaining consent and for which Council can agree on.

Anyone who proposes to fell a dead, dying or dangerous tree should apply to Council using the Dead/dying or dangerous tree assessment request form. This enables the Council to check the condition of the tree and agree if the works are necessary. The request form is to be accompanied by the following:

  • Photos of the vegetation showing the whole tree, bark, leaves and location of the vegetation to establish context on the property.
  • Where a Council officer is uncertain as to the health of the vegetation, Council may require an Arborist’s Report from a minimum AQF Level 5 qualified arborist (as specified in Appendix B2.3 of DCP) to accompany the request.

Failure to give the Council notice of the intended works may result in enforcement action being instigated.

A dead/dying, or dangerous tree approval is not development consent for the purposes of any Local Environmental Plan adopted under the terms of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

A dead, dying, dangerous tree approval is merely a declaration from Council confirming that the trees in question are not subject to the protections provided by the Vegetation SEPP and Council’s DCP . The onus remains upon the applicant to obtain any other approvals or development consent that may be required to remove the trees, including but not limited to those required under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, Local Land Services Act 2013, or any other environmental planning instrument adopted under the terms of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979.

Note that the removal of dying or dead vegetation that is the habitat of native animals is not exempt from requiring approval. 

What if I don't need a permit from Council?

Vegetation clearing or pruning that does not require a permit from Council or approval from the Native Vegetation Panel may still require a Biodiversity Conservation Licence from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment if the vegetation proposed to be cleared is a threatened species, habitat for a threatened species (e.g., hollows in trees), or forms part of a threatened ecological community.

 

For further information contact Council's Development Support Officers